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interviewing possible employees

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Jan 13, 2003.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    anyone have any tips on interviewing people for employment? such as: where to do interviews? kitchen table? etc. any do's and donts? any pointers would be appreciated.
  2. Acorn

    Acorn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    I always ask them how much they expect to get paid. It usually throws them off a bit. If they say 3or 4 $ more than you are willing ask them why you should pay them that amount. If they say "whatever your going rate is" then this is good because they are eager and willing to do and take anything you send their way. Down the road, if they prove themselves beyond a 2-4 week probation, give them a raise to what they are worth. Or you can hold off on the raise until next season and use it as an incentive to get them back
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    I realize that its wintertime, but IMHO have the applicants come right to the shop.

    Whether you have a Z, wb or whatever, put the machine in gear, turn on the pto etc., and ask them to start it up. I always had guys say, "Oh yeah, I ve run this ... this ... this ... and this, etc." Then you get them into the field and they look like a duck watching lightning trying to figure why a unit wont start when the blades are engaged during the trailering process -LOL!!!

    The other thing I used to do was have them cut a for a while (2-3 minutes) so you can see how they operate the machines.

    The other thing thats fun, and informative is like Acorn said is to catch them off their gurad by asking questions not typical of an interview. If you think they might work out based on their app -- Role play if you have to. Take 2-3 minutes and throw a scenario at them, and see how they "say" they would handle the situation. Odds are if you come across disgruntled, and get a little hyped, and they really dont have a response they would have lost it in the field.

    I had a list of about six of the most rediculous scenarios you could think of and not one of them was meant to be taken seriously. I was looking to see who had a sense of humor and who didnt -- I like the work to be fun too.

    Just my .02
  4. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    "tell me what you have done so far today since you woke up?"

    "What are you going to do once you leave here?"

    "Tell me about the jobs you have held in the past."

    "What is the most important thing that your parents ever taught you?"

    Walk the applicant out to their car... see what kind of condition it is in.
  5. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    coffee shop, i think home is a little too "familiar".

    consider only hiring after the second interview. give the best ones a chance for the second. if they want the job (which you want them to) they will have a better chance to show you what they are worth. and you will have a better chance to see if they are not worth it.

    i find after the first interview takes a day ot two for people to make their mind up that they don't want the job. that is, if you offer it to them on the spot of the first interview, or say later that afternoon, they might take it even with doubts. then two days into their job they realize their doubts were true and walk.

    someone who comes to two interviews has thought the job out much better, and is more prepared to accept or reject a position, IMO
  6. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I would ask all kinds of questions to try and catch them off guard. I would also not only look at how they are dressed but also what they are driving and how it looks. If they look like trash and vehicle is dirty as is the inside of their vehicle that says a lot. If they can't take care of themselves or their own stuff do you think they will care for yours?

  7. Tyner Lawn Service

    Tyner Lawn Service LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 328

    Good point Gravely Man. When I had kids that kept nice cars I had guys who were good workers. The bad ones drove junk. Someone might not have a good car and be down on his luck but not very often. I once had on the questionaire sheet what your goals were and one kid said to buy a stereo for his car. (it was junk) Another kid said to have money to buy beer on weekends. I swear! Wish i had kept those for a laugh.

    LLMSERVICE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    First, when developing the job spec, be clear about the skills you are looking for. This will help weed through resumes.

    At the interview, ask questions that make them think and show their character.

    "What was your greatest accomplishment in your last job?"

    "What do you feel are your strengths/weaknesses?"

    "What does customer service mean to you?"

    Ask a situational question or two. "You arrive at a property that has several children and toys in the yard. What would your first response be?" is an example.

    ..and I like the idea of having them run the equipment to test their physical and mechanical aptitudes.

    ...and most importantly-demand AND check references.

    I used to be an Operations Manager at a major historical attraction and weeded through about 500 resumes annually and interviewed 200 for about thirty jobs. The best question I ever asked was "If you were a salad, what kind of salad would you be?" The kid's look was priceless.

    If you are looking for a neutral environment to interview, your local unemployment office may have meeting rooms for such a purpose.
  9. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    Besides the usual questions, how much experience etc.

    1. Do you smoke? They need to answer no to this one.

    2. Do you have a phone? Answer should be yes.

    3. Are you a convicted felon?
  10. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    First of all...
    Gene be very careful of the #3. In some states it is againist the law to ask.

    I would start out with a job application. You can get a generic one a any office supply store. Go through the application and retype on putter with other details you wish to put on the application.

    After the job apps are filled out then have them come back for an interview.

    This makes two times you have seen them. Then after the first interview weed out the ones that don't cut it.

    Call back for job offer and walk through of the equipment. Also you may want give a test on the first or second interview.

    Stay away from personal questions these can get you into hot water.

    My top three questions
    1. Reliable transportation...(should be thier own)

    2. Do have a telephone in your home (not the neighbors or parents)

    3. Experience in the work field

    I would do the interview at local park or some where away from interuptions.

    I try to set aside 20 to 30 minutes per interview. I let them do most of the talking.

    Ask the question and listen. You can learn a lot...

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